Health dept. seeks $75K for program

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Public Health Department recently requested county supervisors approve over $75,000 worth of purchases related to its new Telehealth project.

The Board of Supervisors’ Human Services Committee approved two resolutions for the purchases at the County Office Building. The full board is expected to grant final approval today.

Public Health Director Irina Gelman made the requests. The committee authorized use of $70,000 worth of North Country Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment innovation funds for the Telehealth project.

The Board of Supervisors in 2017 accepted $80,000 worth of the funds. But two purchases involving $5,000 each have already been made against the grant, leaving $70,000.

Telehealth involves patients not having to travel to health institutions to receive initial care from a professional. The program links them up by computers.

The new Telehealth project began last summer and is aimed at improving health care access throughout the county and decreasing rehospitalizations and unnecessary emergency room visits. Participants have ready access to their health care providers, such as physicians, physician assistants or nurse practitioners. This can include clients’ minor-to-major emergent health issues or something as routine as prescription refills

Gelman and county Information Services Department Director Perry Lovell recommended a $2,400 purchase for 24-internet bandwidth usage.

“That’s the bandwidth for all of the current [Telehealth stations],” Gelman said.

Other proposed Telehealth purchases from the lowest responsible bidder are: one support contract for a server — $9,151; rooms support — $4,725; additional lines — $9,486; iPad Pro internet access — $5,904; virtual visit item — $16,200; additional line licenses — $14,793; one mobile Telehealth station — $5,000; one Telehealth station, iPad with arm — $1,200; 20 iPad Pro covers and screen protectors — $600; and miscellaneous supplies — $540.

A Telehealth station recently went operational at Fulton-Montgomery Community College on Route 67. Other stations are being set up at the health department on Route 29 and the Fulton County Office for Aging/Youth on North William Street.

The Human Services Committee also reappropriated $5,434 worth of 2017 Telehealth engagement funds toward purchases. Those two purchases were: Telehealth supplies — $660; and AppleCare Plus warranty plans — $4,774.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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